What is Meth-Induced Psychosis and How is it Treated?
Methamphetamine, or “meth”, is currently one of the most widely abused illicit substances in the United States. The landscape of meth addiction has significantly changed over the years, as it has gone from being a drug synonymous with southern, rural states to a drug that has infiltrated major cities across the country. According to most recent reports, the meth capital of the United States has shifted from Indiana to Michigan in less than 10 years time. What was once seen as a “country” drug has now taken hold of the entire United States.
What is Meth?
Meth is an illicit, synthetic drug. It has a pseudoephedrine base, which is a stimulant substance. So, when meth is abused, it produces an energetic, euphoric high. Mixed in with the pseudoephedrine is a large concoction of toxic chemicals such as paint thinner, lithium, acetone, and even fertilizer. Because of this, one of the street names for meth is “trash” since there is nothing of any sort of value within this drug. The abuse of meth causes severe physical effects, as it causes bones and muscles to deteriorate and vital organs to stop functioning properly. Meth abuse is synonymous with mental health problems, as the continued abuse of it often leads to psychological issues, including what is known as meth-induced psychosis.
What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?
When meth is abused, it goes directly to the brain. Once there, it triggers the production of dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter in the brain that produces happiness and an overall sense of wellbeing. But when too much meth is abused at once or over long periods of time, it can deplete any and all production of dopamine. At that point, the brain essentially shorts out like a faulty circuit and symptoms of meth-induced psychosis begin.
Symptoms of Meth-Induced Psychosis
Meth-induced psychosis can be frightening for both the user and anyone who might be looking on. As mentioned before, it can occur as a result of too much use at one time or prolonged use, but it can also happen even after someone has stopped abusing meth. The most common symptoms of meth-induced psychosis include:
- Severe paranoia
- Erratic behavior
- High energy
- Slurred or incoherent speech
- Grandiose behavior
Someone who is experiencing meth-induced psychosis often experiences all of these symptoms at the same time, which is one of the reasons why it can be so shocking to witness. But undoubtedly the most significant symptoms of meth-induced psychosis are delusions and hallucinations. They can start seeing, hearing, feeling, and believing things that are not there or are not occurring at all. A common hallucination/delusion that occurs during meth-induced psychosis is when a patient believes they have bugs crawling on and under their skin. They can experience periods of time where they violently scratch at themselves to the point where they break their skin and end up with cuts, scrapes, and scabs. The hallucinations and delusions that occur during meth-induced psychosis are so powerful that a person cannot be talked down from them. In rare cases, people commit suicide while experiencing meth-induced psychosis if they are not being monitored. Others can develop meth-induced psychosis permanently if they are not treated.
Treatment for Meth-Induced Psychosis
Meth-induced psychosis is not a one-off occurrence for meth addicts. It is actually fairly common among those who abuse this drug. Studies show that upwards of 40% of meth addicts experience meth-induced psychosis. Many of those who experience meth-induced psychosis develop it when they are high on the drug or coming down from it. Others, however, may experience transient psychosis, which is meth-induced psychosis that comes and goes. Transient psychosis typically lasts anywhere from a few hours to a week. Persistent psychosis occurs when symptoms continue for upwards of six months after a person has stopped using. There is no surefire way to determine if a meth user will develop psychosis, nor is there any way to determine the severity of the psychosis they may experience. That is why getting treatment as quickly as possible when meth-induced psychosis occurs is critical.
Meth-induced psychosis is a serious effect of meth addiction. The best way to treat it is to seek professional help as quickly as possible. When experiencing symptoms of meth-induced psychosis, healthcare providers can help mitigate the severity of them by administering antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and even medications used to treat insomnia. They can offer 24/7 care for the individual to ensure that they are safe, being monitored, and out of harm’s way. Meth-induced psychosis is no joke, nor is it ever treated as such. It can become violent quickly, putting all involved at risk. But, with the use of these and other approved medications, the troublesome symptoms of meth-induced psychosis can be better managed.
The absolute best thing a person who is addicted to meth can do is admit themselves into rehab. Because meth is so highly addictive and extremely destructive to the mind and the body, inpatient addiction treatment is usually recommended. The patient can begin treatment by safely detoxing from meth while under the supervision of professionals. Detox is a tricky time for many, but when in treatment, it can be much easier to get through. Once the patient has detoxed, they can start engaging in therapy to help them treat the underlying causes of their meth addiction. The most common type of therapy used to treat meth addicts is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. This type of therapy focuses on helping patients change their thoughts and beliefs in an effort to improve upon their behaviors.
Combining detox and therapy together has proven highly effective in treating meth addiction. The inclusion of prescription medications to help treat any co-occurring mental health disorder or a mental health problem that has developed as a result of meth use can also make the process of recovery easier and more attainable.
Meth Rehab in Orange County, California
We know the fear that comes along with meth-induced psychosis and addiction. We understand that the idea of trying to stop using meth can seem impossible, but we are here to tell you that it is possible. With our help, you can stop your active meth abuse and begin building a fulfilled life for yourself.
Do not wait any longer. Call Asana recovery right now to learn more about how we can help you say goodbye to meth and hello to a new tomorrow.